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to contrast that with a well known famous saying among lawyers that hard cases make bad law. in a case like this, with such extraordinary circumstances, around such an aberrant event, the best opportunities to pass meaningful legislation are not in the wake of these sort of crazy one off extraordinary events. what do you make of that? >> well, it is a real conundrum. on the one hand, holmes was right. you don't want extraordinary circumstances to create general law for average circumstances. but in another sense, this was not extraordinary. in fact, we've been living in something of a bubble. the fbi has done actually a fairly amazing job over the last decade of stopping many terrorist acts like when they occurred in other countries and europe and the middle east. and this was one that got through. but there are ways in which you could actually change laws to further enable the fbi. going back to michael isikoff's report. what if members of this mosque in boston had contacted law enforcement authorities under a new program and warned them that this fellow tsarnaev was looking a little errat
identify from the facial image who that person is, they would first distribute that image to law enforcement, federal, state, and local and say have you ever seen a picture of anybody that looks like this and see if it gets any hits. that would leak out at some point. it wouldn't be long before they would seek the public's help on who that person is. and then, you know, there's the further question of matching it together with the evidence and there's a wealth of evidence, as i said before, but there's a lot of really hard work that is going in to trying to first reconstruct the bomb and then also trying to piece together where the elements of this bomb were purchased. i'll give you one example, i spoke this afternoon with a company that made that battery pack found among the debris. it was a battery pack that's commonly used to power toy cars and trucks and it's sold in toy stores and in hobby stores. tens of thousands, the company told me, have been sold in just the past year. that's a lot of sales. and it's going to be very difficult to take that battery pack, which they've re
trying to escape law enforcement. here's how it played out. around 10:00 p.m. last night, the suspects robbed a store. they then proceeded to fatally shoot an m.i.t. security officer and hijack a mercedes suv. the owner of that vehicle was held hostage for half an hour while the two brothers pulled $800 out of an atm. they released the owner of the mercedes unharmed. police chased the suspects into watertown, where this shootout took place. the suspects exchanged fire with police and threw explosives towards them. at one point, tamerlan sarn ev got out of the car wearing an ied strapped to his chest and was shot by police. his body was run over by dzhokah tsarnaev as he fled the scene. at present the manhunt continues. the police are looking for a younger brother and a possible accomplice. let's bring in nbc justice correspondent, pete williams. this is a quickly developing situation. how many people are the police looking for right now? >> i think they're not sure. i think we can say probably three. dzhokah tsarnaev, the person who is the man with the white hat and the marathon bombin
considered as a possible hideout? >> well, as you know, chris, they started with a 20-square-block area. law enforcement suggests they've been through about 80% of that. we are looking for a needle in a haystack. and look, we know his brother took a lot of hits in the gunfight with law enforcement last night before he was killed. you might suggest that this 19-year-old man we're looking for, he may have been hit, too. so he could have crawled under a building someplace. he could be barricaded inside of a house somewhere by himself, or holding a hostage, or he may, just may have been able to steal another car and our worst case scenario and get out of town. once law enforcement finishes this search of this 20 square block, then they have to regroup and figure out what cars have been stolen in the area that he might have used to get away from, or did we miss him and do we go back again? and, chris, i know we're going into the weekend, but how long do you keep a city like this bottled up and tell everybody to stay inside? >> well, is there any way of tracking besides basically hard target, i me
talked about the fact and law enforcement talked about the fact that they'd been through about 60% to 70% of the entire area. i'm assuming that in the hours since then, it's now, of course, 4:05 eastern time, but they made progress close to 100%. >> reporter: yeah, but what's the area? remember, the entire city is in lockdown now. they have told everybody in boston not to leave their homes, not to open their doors, except to law enforcement officers. so while they might be able to inspect the immediate area around here in watertown, it seems a herculean task to be able to do that for the entire metropolitan region that's essentially in lockdown right now. look, there's a massive police and military presence, actually, here, actually, it's right behind me, the staging area is right behind where i'm standing here at the parking lot of the watertown arsenal here. we've had early this morning convoys of military humvees, bus loads of police and state troopers coming in here and assembling for what we thought was going to be some sort of massive confrontation or assault here. we had blackhawk
these photos of what remains of a pressure cooker which was used as the delivery device for the explosives. law enforcement sources tell nbc news the bombs were built to act like homemade ieds. sources tell nbc news the bombs included a battery pack and "the boston globe" reports investigators recovered a part of a circuit board at the scene. the bombs were packed with scha shrapnel. the bomb was not capable of creating a massive blast. instead, its main purpose was to maim and injure. photos obtained by whdh in boston showed the area where the bomb was left moments before and moments after the detonation. the fbi is looking at these photos and others like them for clues as to who placed the bombs and when. now there is precedent for devices like these. in 2004, the fbi sent out a memo on the use of homemade pressure cooker bombs. al qaeda's online magazine gave instructions for making them just last month and in the 2010 attempted attack on times square, one of the devices found included a pressure cooker and 125 firecrackers. meanwhile, the search of an apartment belonging to a foreign studen
of military vehicles, buses of police and motorcycles and other armed law enforcement officers. all congregating in the staging area behind me across from the mall in a parking lot. it looked like they were preparing for some sort of confrontation if not an assault. there were a lot of sirens going on. that activity seems to have abat abated. they think they know where the suspect is. clearly there was a pretty good sense here watching this that they seemed to be preparing for what could be a very violent confrontation with the suspect or suspects. shortly about a couple of hours ago now, governor patrick came out and we were told that the entire city of boston was under lockdown. that seemed to escalate the concerns. we don't know right now as we have been told, they believe they have the suspect cornered in an area and the second suspect is on this amtrak train. then the threat, a largered in threat may have abated, but you have to keep in mind they found the ied in the city of boston that has to raise the question are there more out there they have to be concerned about? even if
exception under the miranda allowing law enforcement to interview him, making sure there are no other bombs, threats, perpetrators still out there giving the law enforcement flexibility to do the that prior to miranda and i think the court will interpret it broadly and give them the time they need to make sure that the public is safe. after that, he will have to be mirandized, doesn't mean the end of cooperation, but no basis yet to conclude they should be treated at enemy combatants. we're talking about an american citizen on american soil. there's no evidence that i've seen yet that they were a part of an al qaeda cell or directed by a foreign government. we're very far afield from a situation which is sort of the paradigm for enemy combatant status. that is, someone captured on the balg battlefield in a theater of war. resist these charges as an enemy combatant. the court has proven capable of supporting a terrorist constitution and i'm confident the justice department with all the evidence we've seen and a lot more we haven't can build a very strong case. >> congressman, at this point w
in all of these events has been the interaction between federal law enforcement and local law enforcement. in the 1993 world trade center bombing because that was really a federal facility, the federal government got involved but immediately almost had a fistfight between fbi and atf. so now what you've got it looks like a good working relationship between president obama and governor deval patrick has allowed a very smooth handoff from the boston police to the fbi. in watching just the press conferences so far, they've been sending the right signals of having a joint communicative working relationship. and that's critical to having an effective investigation. >> you and i were talking before about lockerbie, how you could determine through finding little particles of machinery that this was perhaps done by a certain kind of detonator. how far along are we? we already know now it was something to do with a circuit board. what does that tell you? >> they're saying they found a circuit board. how big of a piece, we don't know. remember in another case, it was about the size of your thumbnai
to the bombing in boston. meanwhile, law enforcement officials in massachusetts are combing through more than 2,000 tips, looking through photos like this one, shall shows a bag sitting by a mailbox before the explosion. it is unclear at this point whether or not the bag has any relevance, but appears to be near the center of the explosion. president obama will be in boston tomorrow to attend a memorial service for the victims. for the loved once of those killed and maimed in the explosion, there is only confusion and many unanswered questions. joining me today here in new york city, nbc news capitol hill correspondent luke russert, and misterrorism expert michael leiter, and bob herbert, a distinguished senior fellow at dimos. >>> let's go to kristin welker for more. >> reporter: alex, good afternoon. here's what we know at this hour. this letter was received yesterday at an off-site mail facility. i want to emphasize that. it did not get close to the white house. it's typical for letters sent to this facility to undergo a screening. during that process, it was discovered that a letter address
ways. the fbi missed a lot of things as one potential answer or our laws do not allow the fbi to follow up in a sound, solid way. >> did the fbi fail? i would say they probably -- something slipped through the cracks for them. >> the fbi dropped the ball here, no question about it. >> they dropped the ball here. there is no doubt about it. >> if he was on the radar and they let him go, he's on the russians' radar. why wasn't a flag put him on mim? >> this is the fifth case i'm aware of where the fbi has failed to stop someone who ultimately became a terrorist murderer. >> all right. the right wing media and sometimes the not right wing media. the story right now today is that the fbi dropped the ball. and the reason for the allegations of ball dropping are that we now know the fbi questioned tamerlan tsarnaev in 2011 after russian authorities warned the u.s. they thought he may have connections to radical islam. after a thorough investigation the fbi found no evidence tamerlan was connected to any domestic or foreign terrorism activity and cleared him. this idea that because tamerlan wa
. but as the colonel said, because of that extraordinary collaboration and cooperation by all of these law enforcement resources and assets and more to the point people, professionals, who brought their "a" game, we have a suspect in custody tonight. >> the community stood strong. it was a call from a resident in watertown. we asked you to remain vigilant, and you did. we got that call and we got the guy. and so we can't thank you enough. you've done everything and more than we've asked. extremely proud of law enforcement today and what we've accomplished. >> this whole ordeal started monday with the bombing attack at the finish line of the boston marathon. three people were killed, more than 170 injured. the suspect's older brother died early friday morning following a shootout with police. the two men are also suspected of killing an m.i.t. police officer, 26-year-old sean collier, who was sitting in his patrol car. now, police hope that the surviving suspect will be able to give them some critical information about a possible motive and whether any more people were involved. nbc's katy tur has been
. the hospitals and law enforcement both reporting that there were ball bearings inside this bomb. not some of the other projectiles like nails that you might find in other improvised explosive devices, particularly like those you see in afghanistan. what can the kind of bomb used yesterday tell you about who may have been behind this? >> as a general matter, willie, the type of bomb, the explosives, was this gun powder? was it some higher quality explosive like petn, was it hydrogen peroxide? that will give a load about the type of organizations behind this. the fact there were ball bearings in this is it clearly tells you that whoever did this was intending to maim and kill. this wasn't an attempt to just, you know, do some damage and scare some people. this was someone or a group trying to kill people. you know, beyond that, i think it's really dangerous to say ball bearings suggest domestic or international. the fact is whether it's al qaeda or domestic terrorist groups or hezbollah, all of these groups have used different sorts of motus operenda. it will be a different lead for investi
a primary vote. >> senator manchin called every nra talking point hogwash, laws. he was very strong. yet the hogwash and lies seem to be working. >> seem to be working because they always work. h is what the nra does. we knew this after newtown when, you know, all the energy bubbled up. folks were calling for an assault weapons ban and background checks and straw purchases and bills on trafficking, that the nra would somehow find a way to keep this from happening. the nra has been around a long time. the energy and passion we saw from december 14th has to continue. what happens today, what's happening in the senate right now, shouldn't be something that deters those newtown families and all those other families in cities across the country from pushing to get something done. this is a long haul process. this is not something that turns on, you know, one failed vote. >> isn't there a risk? one of the things that strikes me, we're talking about a vote on a watered down bill. progressives and people supporting the legislation have even said, is it really what we want? no. is it the best we
the decision and, of course, i'm not second-guessing anybody. i did talk to a law enforcement officer over the weekend who, first of all, said, you know, it would have been much better for us all if this had been plotted out of a cave in afghanistan instead of, you know, an apartment in cambridge. >> one among us. >> yeah, one among us. but also he was saying not so sure about them shutting down the entire city and the message that that sends. you talk about copycats. the copycat said if i do something particularly heinous, i can hold an entire city hostage. >> one of the purposes of terrorists is to disrupt and forcing a city shut down and the rest, she used that end in addition to killing and injurying that you do. one of the reasons -- i don't want to second-guess the tactical decision to lock down boston. but i don't think this is something that if you will a scaleable or sustainable. >> no, we can't do this. >> imagine these guys hadn't been captured and all that. >> after what happened to the boston marathon in an internationally visible way. we were covering this all morning long. i
to the perpetrators, we are learning more about just how the explosives were made. law enforcement officials familiar with the case say they appear to have consisted of an explosive and shrapnel backed inside a pressure cooker, probably triggered by some kind of timer. if that is the case, we have seen this before. one of the three devices used in the 2010 attack in times square incorporated a pressure cooker containing approximately 120 fire crackers. a soldier, nazir abdul, convicted last year of plotting an attack at ft. hood, texas, was using a bomb-making recipe from an al qaeda-linked online magazine that used a pressure cooker. in july of 2006, more than 130 died in a series of attacks on the mumbai transit system with pressure cooker explosives placed on the trains. the department of homeland security has warned of the potential terrorist use of pressure cookers saying "as a common cooking utensil, the pressure cooker is often overlooked when searching vehicles, residences, or merchandise crossing the u.s. borders." now, of course, there's still much more that authorities want to know about t
. >> if people are coming from countries where, perhaps, they grew up under sharia law, i think we can make a safe assumption they have been radicalized. >> lindsey graham was on some show this week saying this shows how we need better tracking. i'm thinking this shows how we need better immigrants. >> how do we give asylum to people from islamic countries, or islamic territories? i would submit people shouldn't be coming here as tourists from check kn chechnya after 9/11. dagestan, chechnya, kyrgyzstan, uh-huh. as george bush would say, none of them stands. >> let me get this right, krystal. asylum is not based on those that may be in desire of leaving countries that we think their policies are no good. asylum is based on who you are. have you ever heard anything more biased and -- and in many ways profiling people just based on their nationality? i mean, it's the exact anti-thesis to what asylum is. >> it's the exact antithesis of everything this country stands for. judging people. not allowing them into this country because of their religion is unbelievable. i would love to know how many
was shocked by her husband and brother-in-law's actions. >>> in dagestan, the boys' mother, still in denial. >> i am mother. i have -- you know, i know my kids. i know my kids. i really my kids would never get involved into anything like that. >> in the boston area, local police are now taking a closer look into a possible link between older brother, tamerlan tsarnaev, and a 2011 unsolved triple homicide. >>> and local police are also taking a look at what links there may have been. in canada, two men charged with plotting to blow up a passenger train between toronto and new york make their first appearances in court while on capitol hill senator charles grassley keeps raising the boston plot as he opposes the timetable for immigration reform. >> the tragic events that occurred in boston and the potential terrorist attacks of the u.s. canadian railroad are reminders that our immigration system is directly related to our sovereignty and national security matters. >>> and guess who is coming to dinner? the president hosts the women of the senate, senator kirsten gillenbrand is here to preview
significantly more complex. american law enforcement officials currently track terror networks by tapping into chatter, monitoring videos and reports of field agents, but even if the fbi is tipped off to potential american terrorists, there's are limits to what can be done. "the new york times" reports that after the tib questioned tamerlan tsarnaev in 2011, officials had quote no authority to watch him because they found no terrorism activity at the time. this scenario that an american could and would do this while flying under the radar raises serious questions regarding national security. the "washington post" writes the boston attacks might serve as a new model for terrorism in the 21st century. seeing how two kids with backpack bombs seem to have succeeded in putting a major u.s. city on lockdown, it may now dawn on al qaeda leaders that a series of small-scale attacks like this conversation the same impact as one spectacular mass casualty attack. through a combination of skill and luck, we've done well at preventing the next 9/11. preventing the next boston massacre might not be as
for law enforcement to put it together. >> the boston police department was one of the early departments to be trained at the oklahoma city, the terrorism institute for in oklahoma city. i think the boston pd is extr e extremely well led and very sophisticated. the fbi has a field office in boston. you couldn't have a better law enforcement investigative community there. obviously, the good thing and i think mr. van zandt focused on it, is the fact that you had an opportunity hopefully to observe a lot of things a as a result of cameras. that comment about the bomb dogs coming in apparently before the placement of these devices. if each of them are 20 pounds apiece, that's a pretty burly person could handle that. may have been two people like tim mcveigh and one of his associates in oak city. they need a lucky break. state trooper who saw that broken license plate, but we've got to get to the bottom of it. we will and whoever's responsible will be tried and convicted and i think mercifully, hopefully, if they are responsible for this horrific act, will be executed d as we did tim mcveig
for law enforcement and for politicians to paint this as black and white. we like to see things in terms of good and evil. evil-doers, out doing evil. and certainly the act itself is an act of evil. it's horrible what happened. but then you put that next to the description of dzhokhar by his friends and the one that emerges from his twitter feet. when you hear the president say we're confronting the face of evil and you hear his friends say, he's the nicest guy ever. he arrived, he would pick you up. >> and adopted kittens. twitter photos of kittens. that doesn't excuse anything, in terms of complicating the picture here. >> it does lend credibility to the idea that his older brother was the one that might have influenced this. it's the perfect age, what, 26 and 19, for the 19-year-old to look up to the 26-year-old. and i think it's revealing, too, that he kind sounds like he drove over his brother. >> yes, well, in the escape. >> i'd like to see, if that's true, it would be interesting to see if they charge him with that. you know -- >> involuntary manslaughter. >> that would be one of
involvement. >> the reports of involvement by her husband and brother-in-law came as an absolute shock to them all. >> and in dagestan, the suspect's mother is adamant that her sons are innocent. >> what happened is a terrible thing, but i know that my kids have nothing to do with this. i know it. i am mother. >> joining us now from boston is nbc news national investigative correspondent michael isikoff. and frank silufo, director of the homeland security policy institute at george washington university. good afternoon, to both of you. mike, as the investigations continue both here and oversea, we understand that investigators are confident these brothers acted alone. even as their family members express utter bafflement. what are we learning about the larger case against these suspects? >> reporter: well first of all, this is looking, martin, more and more like a case of self-radicalization. now, nothing is conclusive and, you know, we're far from the end of this investigation right now. >> of course. of course. >> reporter: but the preliminary indicators, first, you have tsarnaev saying the
tobacco from 18 to 21. the new law would not prohibit people under 21 from possessing or smoking cigarettes. if passed, the measure would be the strictest limit on tobacco of any u.s. city. awesome. >> you kind of wonder when the mayor is going to pass a law that is going to require each new yorker to read at least 30 minutes of poetry. >> no. this is good. >> that one i would not expect to happen. >> this is what we need. we actually don't even need anybody buying or smoking cigarettes and getting sick from it and getting other people sick too. >> mika, can i point something out? >> sure. >> the matrix awards yesterday. women in communications. mike barnicle's wife introduced by mika brzezinski. >> oh, look at her. mika did a great job. and you know, ann did pretty damn well herself. >> ann was amazing. there's martha stewart. there were impressive women there. but i had the great honor of -- this is funny. i had the great honor of introducing ann. and they asked at one point for last year's matrix winners to stand up and barnicle stood up. >> i was wondering when mike barnicle
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